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Author Topic: Alternative Camera to replace NightWatch Wireless Low-Light B/W Video Camera  (Read 79493 times)

Chris S.

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I bought the Wireless Low-Light B/W camera some time ago to capture small animals
that frequent my backyard at night time. I had also setup video recording which allowed me to observe the animals behavior and times during the evening and the early hours of the morning.
I used a 25w yellow bulb that is mounted on my shed to provide some light, but not enough to deter the animals coming around.
Below is a video that I had taken some time ago of a Possum mulling around.
The quality is not very good, which some of us have already experience.


I really wanted a true IR Night Vision camera that would be compatible with AHP/iWitness. I wanted the ability to leverage the VA11A USB/Video adapter that
I bought from X10, along with the VR36A receiver.
The frequencies that the VR36A supports for the 4 channels are;
A-2.411 GHZ 
B-2.434 
C-2.453 
D-2.473 

The camera that I purchased was the Swann Night Hawk Wireless Outdoor Camera with Night Vision. You can either buy the camera alone for about $70.00, or with the Swann wireless receiver for about $150.00.
The receiver supports 4 channels using the following frequencies;
CH1 = 2414MHz
CH2 = 2450MHz
CH3 = 2432MHz
CH4 = 2468MHz
    
I was initially concerned that the Swann camera would not be compatible with the X10 Video Receiver, so I ended up buying Swann Camera and Receiver package at Circuit City (Online) for $150.00.
As it turns out, the Swann camera is compatible with the X10 video receiver.


Pros:
True Night Vision Camera with IR LEDS that automatically illuminate depending on the amount of natural or artificial light the camera senses. During daylight, the LEDS are off
Compatible with X10 Video Receiver and iWitness.

Cons:
You lose the ability to Pan and Tilt if using the Robotic mount.
You cannot shut off camera, unless you use and X10 Lamp module.

Both videos below were using iWitness and the VA11A USB Video Capture adapter and the VR36A X10 Video reciever.

Video of X10 NightWatch Wireless Low-Light B/W:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3au60amoaQ


Video of SWANN SW-P-WOC 2.4 GHz Outdoor Camera with Day/Night Iris:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoK6qmRuKQ

So now I have a true night vision wireless camera that is compatible with X10 and
Video recording.  I may at some point modify the X10 B/W camera to be an infrared camera (I’ve seen posts on this mod on the web), but would have to add my own IR light source.

Until then, the Swann camera setup is working great.


PS.
The Swann video that I had recorded of the Possum, still has the 25watt bulb, although it is not needed.
I have viewed the camera image without any light source other than the IR LEDS, and everything is crystal clear.
The 25watt bulb is for me to observe with my own eyes out the back window.


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Chris S.

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I thought I would send another update since I first posted my results using the Swann Night Hawk wireless camera.
AHP / iWitness recorded this roof rat at around 8:30pm.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhMH5D2B64M
« Last Edit: October 25, 2006, 10:41:52 PM by Chris S. »
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Dew

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Thanks for sharing this. I'm also not too pleased with the results of the X10 low light cameras and was looking for another alternative. Is it possible to post what it might look like without your 25watt light burning.

Thanks again.

Dew
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Dew

Chris S.

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Here are 2 iWitness Snapshots that I took using the Swann Night Hawk Wireless Camera.

Snapshot of Coke Can with 25w Light off to the Right



Snapshot of Coke Can with no light other than the IR light from Camera


When I bought the Swann Camera, I decided to buy the Camera/Receiver package.
I am using X10's Video Receiver with the iWitness setup, but I also have the Swann Video Receiver
on my TV as a monitor.  The resolution on the TV is much better than the resolution on the Snapshots or video
stored on the Computer.

When I get a chance, I'll reposition the camera to record me as I walk across the back yard, which would
probably be a better example of real conditions that someone would use the camera.
Might give a better idea as to the range of the IR LEDS on the Camera.


My camera is approx 4 feet from the Coke Can.
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Dew

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This is very helpful Chris. Thankyou.
I would be interested in seeing a pics of you (or someone) walking in front of the camera at night.
Cheers,
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 05:42:07 PM by Dew »
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Dew

HA Dave

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I thought I would send another update since I first posted my results using the Swann Night Hawk wireless camera.
AHP / iWitness recorded this roof rat at around 8:30pm.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhMH5D2B64M


Gee thanks Chris S.  I followed your link... and spent 2 hours on YouTube. By the way... have you seen the X10 here group, or entered the X10 video contest?
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KDR

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Another affordable IR camera is http://www.astak.com
Walmart has some of these in the store and I was able to use AHP and iWitness with it as well. They have one that they say is good to 40' that I may try.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 08:31:04 PM by KDR »
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HA Dave

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Another affordable IR camera is http://www.astak.com
Walmart has some of these in the store and I was able to use AHP and iWitness with it as well. They have one that they say is good to 40' that I may try.



I use the wired Astak IR Cam (CM-612W). I easily get forty feet of good vision, and I do like the Cam. It's mount has very limited adjustment, so I couldn't place it where I had hoped. I hadn't read anywhere that it uses the (I think) "lower band" of IR ... which means it's IR LED's actually glow RED.
If I was to do it over (and I likely will) I would have used a low light (X10) and seperate IR light source.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 05:30:27 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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Chris S.

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Dave_x10_L
Sorry to hear that you got lost in YouTube land, that's happened to me a few times  ;D

You had mentioned that you might get an IR light source for your X10 B/W lowlight camera.
My understanding is, that this will not work withought modifying the lens on the lowlight camera,
I could be wrong, if you test this and it works, please let us know.
Here is a link for a IR light.
http://shop1.outpost.com/product/3609645#detailed

The following 2 links are for modding a webcam to view objects that are illuminated from an IR light source.
http://www.hoagieshouse.com/IR/
http://www.badacetechshow.com/nvc.htm

As far as entering the X10 video contest, I think X10 would prefer that the video I entered was
created using  100% X10 products.
But I did promise Dew a video recording of myself at night time from a respectable distance from the
IR emitter and camera.

KDR
I was looking at the cameras at Astak, and the cameras look very similar to the Swann cameras.

Glad to here that wireless cameras are becoming mainstream products, enough where Walmart is
carring them.

Glad to see some feedback/comments to this post.

The fact that there are alternative camera devices that provide functionality (true Night Vision) that
an X10 camera does not provide at the same price, but that is compatible with the X10 software,
is really a very encouraging feature of the X10 software.

I realize that X10 provides a true Night Vision device (The Sentinel Camera)
but for my needs, I am hard presses to shell out 5 or 6 hundred dollars.

These alternative IR cameras sell for $80 or less.

Nothing wrong with identifying alternative additions to our X10 setup,
but still able to leverage the X10 software.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2006, 11:51:42 AM by Chris S. »
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HA Dave

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Dave_x10_L
Sorry to hear that you got lost in YouTube land, that's happened to me a few times  ;D

You had mentioned that you might get an IR light source for your X10 B/W lowlight camera.
My understanding is, that this will not work withought modifying the lens on the lowlight camera,
I could be wrong, if you test this and it works, please let us know.


I love YouTube! Those short little videos sure add up to some real time though.

I just checked my wired low light X10 camera! What I did was:  Turned the camera on, and displayed it's image (the garage) on the TV. Then I asked my wife to watch the TV and let me know what she saw. I took my (cable company provided) IR remote with me to the garage.

My wife reported seeing me flash a light at the camera!
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tjdavj

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Quote
I realize that X10 provides a true Night Vision device (The Sentinel Camera)

Just an update on the Vanguard/Sentinel cameras.  While they do offer very low light sensitivity (.2 lux stated), they are by NO means "True Night Vision" cameras. I have had both cameras, and they perform identically under the same conditions, and they both require some form of light the see anything when it's truly dark.  This is less of a problem in populated areas, as there is enough ambient light for the camera, But I live in the country, and when it's dark, it's dark, and I'm unable to see anything without a secondary light source. I will be experimenting with a couple of different high power IR sources in the near future and will report back on the outcome of these tests.

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HA Dave

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Quote
I will be experimenting with a couple of different high power IR sources in the near future and will report back on the outcome of these tests.

I read somewhere... I think this forum.... of a guy using IR LED floodlights ($128 ea).

And your right tjdavj about the country/city difference!

I am from the country....now live in the city. I do run a few landscape lights all around my house, but with that tiny extra light, I can see my entire yard out the windows when my inside lights are off.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2006, 01:52:02 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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KDR

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Dave... I just got the CM-612W $58 for the kit. I think its a very well made cam. Nice metal body and I like the fact that the 100 foot cable also carries the power wire for the cam. Its rated at 0 Lux and says it has a range of 20 feet. (waiting for night to check it out)

I centered the base on the top of a ninja and drilled 3 small holes to mount it. Works great. I also noticed that you can flip its mount to the top side if you were going to mount it upside down. Plan on getting a few more for the price.
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HA Dave

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Dave... I just got the CM-612W $58 for the kit. I think its a very well made cam. Nice metal body and I like the fact that the 100 foot cable also carries the power wire for the cam. Its rated at 0 Lux and says it has a range of 20 feet. (waiting for night to check it out)

Yep thats it. I think you'll like the cam too. I had never thought of mounting it on ninja... great idea. I actually buried the cable, it's been underground for several months now.

Though I REALLY like the X10 cams... it is nice to be able to "look around" the outside from my easy chair... without turning on my floodlight (X10). I really wish I had thought to put it on a ninja.

Please let me know what you think!
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TakeTheActive

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For those of you (like me ;) ) who wished that KDR had provided a LINK :o :

Astak CM-612W: Weatherproof Night Vision Color  Security Camera

8)

[Color formatting compliments of Puck via earlier PM.]
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